Green party Leader Elizabeth May says the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline is “dead” and British Columbians won’t accept any new oilsands pipelines.
Last month, the federal Conservative cabinet approved Enbridge’s proposed $7-billion pipeline provided it meets 209 conditions set out by a joint review panel last year.
But May, who represents the B.C. riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, said opposition in the province is too widespread and too fierce for the line to go ahead.
“I think it’s dead,” she said in an interview at a Calgary Stampede breakfast Thursday. “The Enbridge project has everything going against it.”
The pipeline, which would send bitumen from northern Alberta’s oilsands to the West Coast for shipment to Asia, is seen by the Alberta and federal governments as key in opening new markets for provincial energy resources.
May said Gateway faces roadblocks from the B.C. government, municipalities and First Nations. Last week’s Supreme Court decision granting land title to the Tsilhqot’in First Nation is also likely to set a precedent that will make it harder for the pipeline to go forward, she said.
May said Albertans — who are acutely conscious of provincial rights — should be wary of a project being pushed forward by Ottawa against the will of a provincial government, in this case B.C.
Resistance to oilsands pipelines is so entrenched in the province that Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of its existing Trans Mountain line also faces major obstacles, she said.
“I don’t think there is any possibility of bitumen being shipped to the coast,” said May.
Both the federal Liberals and NDP have also vowed to kill the Gateway project if they form government after the 2015 federal election.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau told reporters Friday in Calgary that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has mishandled efforts to win social licence for projects such as Gateway, on top of bungling Canada-American relations to the detriment of the stalled Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
“We need a long-term plan. We need a sustainable vision for energy exports in this country,” he said. “Unfortunately, the current prime minister . . . isn’t getting the kind of things done we need to do.”
But Michelle Rempel, the Conservative minister of state for western economic development who had been flipping pancakes with May, said the government has fulfilled its proper roles as regulator, “as well as making the jobs argument.”
“Having access to other markets for our energy products is a good thing in terms of economy, but (also) making sure that these projects are safe, that the public can know that they’re going to be built out according to best practices, standards and rigorous review,” said Rempel, the MP for Calgary Centre-North.
Green party leaders says Northern Gateway pipeline is â€˜deadâ€™ (external - login to view)